Model homes show today’s hot design trends

Do you have white kitchen fatigue? Is your tile boring? Is your dark wood flooring looking a little drab?

It may be time to dress up your home with a little pizzazz. New colors, materials and styles are always popping up to give you more choices in home furnishings and decor than ever before. Here’s a look at what’s trending in home design today, according to suburban new-home builders.

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Home exteriors

The “modern farmhouse” with a front porch remains the most favored home exterior with craftsman style a close second, said Christy Whelan, director of sales for Airhart Construction. “Buyers want the unique features of old homes in their new homes.”

Buyers prefer stone accents for more character and texture rather than all-brick fronts. Porches with southern-style columns and eyebrow details over the windows highlight today’s exteriors.


While all-white kitchens reign and will always be a classic, the tide is about to turn with more dramatic pops of color. Turquoise, avocado or lemon will stand out against darker backsplashes. You’ll see many shades of green in the kitchen next year — the green of fresh vegetables and crunchy apples.

In its urban rowhouses, Lexington Homes offers standard white cabinetry with an upgrade of white lacquer and laminate wood with modern hardware, said Kate Brennan, creative manager with Eleni Interiors in Naperville, which decorates model homes and provides interior design services for several area builders.



“Cabinetry offerings depend on the market and price point of the new-home community. We’re trending toward more personalization with buyers putting together what they like with a combination of painted and wood cabinetry,” she said.

Open shelving mixed with traditional kitchen cabinetry allows owners to display pretty dishes and glassware, and it’s more interesting than a solid wall of wood cabinets.

Quartz countertops are all the rage because of its durability and easy maintenance, and large islands with plenty of seating are important to buyers, Whelan said.

Backsplashes are growing in stature as they reach to the ceiling for a more cohesive look.

Wood flooring throughout the first floor, vinyl flooring with the look of concrete and wood laminate, because of its low maintenance, are popular choices for flooring.




Let’s welcome color into our homes. Looking ahead, blues and greens make an appearance with hues of the sea and ocean with light to deeps, but not as heavy as emerald.

Also, a lot of jewel tones add a bit of color in a piece of art, a small pillow, a vase. You’ll see bold jewel tones, earthy colors and textures, Brennan said.

“We’re seeing bold patterns in wall coverings and really cool accent pillows for personalization or a bold backsplash with the rest of the kitchen serene and not competing.”

Designers are putting a lot of focus on integrating black into the interior with lighting fixtures, hardware and accessories such as a vase, frame or throw. The classic black is really dramatic.


Tile that has a unique bold pattern has replaced the beige or almond color tile of the past. Give your kitchen a touch of the exotic with patterned Spanish or Moroccan inspired tiles and backsplashes.

Indoor/outdoor connection

Designers blur the line between indoors and outdoors so homeowners can connect with nature and their natural surroundings, Brennan said. “People want to bring in more natural light, place a mirror in a strategic place and use a large slider (patio door).”

With a nod to the natural world, we’re seeing earthy materials that bring character and warmth into the home. Handcrafted items, organic pieces made from nature, natural materials and warm woods are on trend.

In keeping with the organic theme, many furniture companies are showcasing new, lighter finishes for wood items. These washes better play up the wood grain and provide a striking contrast to bolder upholstery, Brennan said.

Hardware follows the trend. The modern look of chrome, brass and rose gold hardware will be replaced with leather pulls in different shapes and sizes. Brass hinges, knobs, and pulls are textured to look like bamboo. Lighting

Wall sconces, once used to hold candles and torches against the wall to light the way, are on trend in lighting today, Brennan said. They have more of a sculptured look and add life to a boring wall. They create a focal point around a fireplace, a spotlight on artwork or can be used to light up a darker area of the room.

There are many attractive plug-in sconces in the marketplace today that will complement any wall.


Brennan said “mindfulness” in design and intent of space is a big trend. “Buyers want (floor) plans to really work for the way they live,” she said.

There’s no place like home for mindfulness, which helps you feel more at peace in your space.

This concept is in sync with simplicity and the KonMari method of tidying up. The concept: surround yourself with things that you love and get rid of nonessentials that are cluttering your space.

Wood-burning fireplaces are not as requested by new-home buyers as in the past, but for those that want the cozy ambience, a modern style with stones that glow beneath the fire is favored. Gas fireplaces with a simple switch that starts the fire have replaced wood-burning fireplaces because there’s no need to clean, Whelan said.

Multifunctional furniture

With smaller footprints in the urban market, homeowners need to optimize their living space with multifunctional furniture. Furniture sources are responding with space-saving, flexible, modular pieces that can adapt to any kind of space.

Storage solutions

Innovative and stylish storage solutions such as a modular shelving system make an attractive tool to declutter every room in your home. We’re also seeing shelves or shallow bookcases to break up a space without closing it in.


With a continued focus on sustainability, homebuyers show their love of the environment by using eco-friendly, organic and natural home decor. Buyers also care about how products are made and packaged.



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